Saturday, September 21, 2019

The greatest threat to Christianity


Matthew 23:13-36…

False teachers, with their false systems of religion, are the mortal enemies of truth. What they are delivering is far more dangerous than immorality and indifference. The truly loving thing is not to ignore but to confront, correct, and condemn soul killing error. The New Testament is all about this, and so was Jesus, as we see here.

The Pharisees outwardly honored the Word of God, but the manifesting of external forms of religious observance without an internal reality is actually the farthest thing from God imaginable. Jesus pronounced several denunciations upon them. He said they were “hypocrites”, “blind”, and “fools”. He said that to follow them meant you became a “child of hell”.  He called them “whitewashed tombs”, “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” They were “serpents”, a “brood of vipers”, who would not “escape the sentence of hell”.

Jesus is not simply name calling or venting frustration. This is a calculated confrontation. His words are well chosen. He wants people whose hearts, from the inside out, have been given over to Him and who love Him with their whole being. He wants people to worship in both spirit and in truth. In the light of the greatest commands (Matthew 22:34-40 / Deuteronomy 6:4-5 / Leviticus 19:18) the religious leaders were hypocrites. He is warning against this type of superficial, external practice of religion.

Look at the “woes” Jesus uses. He curses the Pharisees for not only opposing the gospel message, but for oppressing those who accepted it. They practiced their religion for personal gain, exploiting people in the name of ministry. They evangelized people unto themselves, and people were worse off because of it. They made subtle distinctions in the truth and thereby encouraged people to be untruthful. They dealt with the little things while ignoring the big things. Their ceremony couldn’t hide their corruption. They looked right but were rotten.

They seemed to be repentant about the past but rejected the truth now and would rage against it in the future. They were not going to be held innocent. Jesus pronounced that this rejection would bring judgment. Within a generation of Jesus death, Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were decimated. It serves as a terrible warning to us all that divine judgment on hypocrisy and sin is inevitable.

1 comment:

Even So... said...

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